STMA STMA : Notebook -- Essential Gear

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.” –Beryl Pfizer

One essential piece of gear for anyone who needs to remember anything is a notebook. I have one with me, either hand carried or in my gear bag, ninety percent of the time. Bible study and sermon notes, shopping lists, to-do lists, and things to remember are all in the same place; as long as the notebook is long enough, everything current is there.

As far as the notebook itself goes, anything that fits in my pocket is too small for me; I used a leather “padfolio” for many years, but that’s just a little too much. Right now I’m using a swag notebook from MILCOM 2006; it’s a spiral with cardboard front and back covers. Normally I’d shy away from spirals, but the binding wire is stiff enough that it’s kept its shape despite plenty of abuse. I usually keep a pen inside the wire for quick jotting. Waiting in the wings for the day I fill this notebook are two others. The first is a laser-etched Moleskine from Modofly. I’m excited about this one; lots of people rave about their Moleskines. It’ll be able to carry a pen, even though it’s not a spiral, and there are plenty of mods out there. The second notebook waiting in the wings is an Army issue “greenbook” (I can’t seem to find one online, but it’s roughly similar to this, but smaller - about the size of a Moleskine). It’s a hardback notebook with lined pages; the cover is green canvas, which is great for modding a pen holder and other options in.

I think the optimum size for a notebook is about 8.5x5.5 inches (fold a sheet of letter size paper in half), with about 200 pages. That size fits in most bags and is easy to handle, but still holds plenty to make it worthwhile. The MILCOM spiral I’m using right now is about 10x7 inches, and it’s a little bigger than I’d like. Aside from size, I need a place to carry a pen, and I’d really like to see waterproof paper… like Rite-In-The-Rain’s products. Six or eight months from now, I may try their Tactical Field Book; it’s no Moleskine but the price isn’t either.